Echelon Bar and Bistro
07731 384 794
Friday 8th May
We were celebrating my daughter's birthday, so Marg and I
took her and her husband to Echelon. Marg and my daughter had looked in on the
place a few weeks back when on a shopping trip to Ormskirk, and they thought it
was worth a trip.
On arrival, I was a little nonplussed: it was more like a
bar than a restaurant - and I was decidedly relieved that when Marg had booked,
she had been assured that we would have a booth - the alternative seemed to be
bar-stools at tall, er, bars.
The waitress was quite busy and acknowledged us as soon as
she saw us. I was getting even more worried when it seemed to take an
inordinate amount of time before she could attend to us.
We were shown to a white leather upholstered booth which was
amply proportioned for the four of us. The atmosphere, although a little on the
noisy side, was, as some would put it: "buzzing". A large plasma
screen in the far corner was showing something to do with fashion and there was
music (from a radio?) playing. The place was quite full with (what seemed to me
to be) young(ish) people. I commented that Marg and I were probably the oldest
Our waitress turned out to be efficient and friendly,
without being intrusive. We ordered drinks, and I quizzed her over what Gins
they had. She was about to go and get the full list when I asked her to just
get me the Tanqueray with the highest alcohol content. I find that I prefer the
taste of the stronger versions - especially Blue Sapphire 47% and Tanqueray
47.3% (?). Funnily, I prefer bog-standard Gordons at 37% over the Blue Sapphire
I ordered smoked haddock
fish cakes. Other orders were the wild mushrooms sauteed in garlic
and white wine and cream sauce, on toasted bloomer, topped with parmesan, and
bread and olive selection.
As is our wont we each sampled the other's dishes, and we
were all pleased - however, my favourite was the mushrooms - they were very
tasty and well presented.
I was torn between Sea Bass
and Goosnargh duck, so plumped for the Lamb Shank! I didn't notice
that it was served with green beans, and ordered a side of the beans
as well. Perhaps the waitress should have noticed and commented?
Marg selected the chicken breast stuffed with Brie and
"sun blushed tomatoes" on a Verde mash with Bearnaise sauce.
Fillet of steak and the Duck were the other orders. Sauteed
potatoes and chiunky chips as sides.
My daughter was going through a "Pink" phase, so a
bottle of rose (Pinot Grigio Blush Sartori) was unavoidable. For the rest of
us, a bottle of Ch. LaCroix St. Emillion 2004.
My lamb was tender and tasty - but no more so than I would
have expected from any vacuum-packed offering. This isn't meant as a criticism,
or a suggestion that the lamb was anything other than fresh - perhaps more a
recognition that vacuum-packs are pretty acceptable these days. Nevertheless, I
would have appreciated something a little more out of the ordinary.
Marg's chicken was good - and I found the tomatoes added
just the right amount of piquancy and moisture - not to mention colour. The
mash was good.
The fillet steak was good if not exceptional and the duck,
requested "pink", was ever so slightly overdone (though not too far
This all perhaps sounds a little too critical. The fact is
that we all enjoyed every aspect of the meal - it's a nice place, the
atmosphere was very pleasant and the service excellent. The food could do with
some added "oomph" but that would take it into another bracket and
may have unintended consequences.
Marshmallow Cheesecake with
I asked whether they had plain vanilla ice-cream ("Of
course!") so I added a shot of espresso to the order and rustled myself up
an "Afogato" - drizzle the ice cream with the espresso - lovely !
Oh, and my daughter blagged a cocktail out of me as well - a
"Sagashieldsy" - based on a Mojito, a measure of rum, fresh
raspberries, mint, lime and brown sugar topped with soda.
The total, at just short of
£160, was not exorbitant - though I wait with bated breath for the
day when my kids treat /me/ :~)
Sandro & Marg